Balenciaga Haute Couture 2024-2025

a la une, Haute Couture

by Diane PERNET

Haute Couture Fashion Week in Paris is over and sometimes while looking at the shows I start to wonder what era we are in and who designers are addressing. I suppose that is why I found the Balenciaga Haute Couture Show so refreshing.

Granted it was a large step away from his previous Haute Couture collections, which by the way I always loved, but it was opening up a conversation about what is couture and who is the client and what makes couture couture. The show notes sated that the couture collection was a tribute to subculture dress codes which are part of his fashion vocabulary.

“I chose four permanent components of CRISTÓBAL BALENCIAGA’S last two decades of collections and applied them to my design aesthetic in order to create a bridge between Balenciaga’s signature elegance and silhouette and my own personal style.”


Said Demna.


The codes: ¾ length sleeves, a focus on profile of silhouette and cocoon shapes, extravagant headwear, I literally found myself laughing with the t-shirt thrown over the saucer shaped headwear, and fabric innovation. The images above show the process and the techniques with textiles. The finale piece took things to the extreme with a dress that can only be worn once and never again. 

Balenciaga 53rd Couture Backstage by diane Pernet for edge mag

For those of you that do not know the requirements to be considered Haute Couture in Paris:

  1. Maintain an atelier (workshop) in Paris that employs at least 15 full-time staff members.
  2. Have at least 20 full-time technical workers in one of their workshops.
  3. Create made-to-order clothing for private clients, with one or more fittings.
  4. Present a collection of at least 50 original designs (both day and evening looks) twice a year during the haute couture shows in January and July.
  5. The term “haute couture” is legally protected, and only brands approved by the FHCM can use this designation.

The fact that Demna choses to only show one couture collection a year has caused a certain degree of tension with the  Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode, but then again if you watched the tv series on CRISTÓBAL BALENCIAGA you could see he also had certain disagreements with the traditional industry practices. Demna made this choice because with one collection a year that gives him more time for fabric research, artisan craftsmanship and the refinement of his designs. At any rate we know Demna is both a disruptor and a visionnaire. Some of the innovations are:

Balenciaga 53rd Couture Backstage by diane Pernet for edge mag

Everyday wardrobe garments lined in silk scuba satin to support the cocoon-like shapes, jackets that seem to be worn tied around hips are engineered into the trousers and become one garment. T-shirt prints are oil hand-painted drawings, a faux fur coat is made of synthetic hair that is shaped and hand-dyed and takes approximately 2.5 months to make. A maxi goth dress is made in knitwear embroidery with black upcycled glass beads. 

A variety of garments and accessories are upcycled and reconstructed into bustier and draped body-conscious twisted gowns and an all-you-can-wear bell shaped ball dress. 

Upcycled melted plastic bags are moulded to create a white column dress while another dress is made from one entire piece of black leather without any cut edges and is held together with a giant safety pin. Reminiscent of past collections Demna again crunches aluminium foil and molds it around the body. Tiny strips of fake fur are cut and sewn together using traditional fur patternmaking techniques sewing tiny strips in a herringbone arrangement, the idea taken from the centruries old techniques of reusing scraps and takes 7.5 weeks to produce.

Balenciaga 53rd Couture Backstage by diane Pernet for edge mag

A molded and seamless second skin dress of deep black flocked leather becomes a wearable jewelry display, I love the ironic idea, and showcases an original archival CRISTÓBAL BALENCIAGA necklace from 1960.

The finale piece, made of 47 meteres of fabric was assembled directly on the body in a choreographed process just prior to the show and was only to be worn once. If ordered, for a one time use, the atelier team would come and wrap you in the one time only black nylon dress. Demna remains my ultimate hero in the Haute Couture for recognizing that times are changing and we cannot continue to live in the past. 





Backstage photos – Diane Pernet